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Stanford Medicine magazine spotlights social determinants of health, the nonmedical factors that make or break us | News Center

“The color of your skin, the community you belong to, and the place you call home remain the biggest predictors of health and longevity. Much more than your doctor or what’s in your DNA,” writes the dean of the Stanford School of Medicine Lloyd MinorM.D., in the new problem from Stanford Medicine magazine.

The special report of the matter, Health in the real world: how social factors make or break us, contains articles about the ways non-medical factors such as education, food security, housing, income, race, and social support can enhance or hinder our health. Also included are articles on efforts to promote health equity.

As Stanford Medicine experts explain in the issue’s editorial, these non-medical factors, called social determinants of health, are receiving renewed attention at Stanford Medicine and throughout the health care system — attention spurred by the murder of George Floyd by police and the COVID-19 pandemic. disproportionate impact on people of color.

“Understanding that social determinants of health can limit a patient’s ability to consider clinical trials, for example, allows us to try to dismantle those barriers, as an institution and as clinicians,” neuro-oncologist Renee ThomasMD, PhD, clinical associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences, says in the editorial.

Published research on social determinants of health has increased by 600% in the last decade, with a sharp increase since 2020, and clinicians like Thomas are caring for patients in the knowledge that non-medical factors influence their patients’ health.

Also included in the release is a Q&A with Stanford University’s newest Nobel laureate, Caroline BertozziPhD, on why she likes to collaborate and what makes collaborative efforts successful, as well as several papers on basic human biology, particularly the process used by cells to make proteins.

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The social determinants of health theme package includes:

· A to round up from educational, clinical, research and community initiatives that address the challenges posed by social determinants of health — from screening pediatric patients for food insecurity; to the first large-scale, national study of LGBTQ health; to a partnership of Roots Community Health Center clinic to identify needs and challenges in using telehealth services.

· A story about the challenge of coping with breast cancer when your culture considers it taboo to talk about breasts. This article focuses on research by Ranak TrivediPhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, on the experiences of South Asian women in the US with breast cancer.

· A Q&A with health equity experts Alice AdamsPhD, the inaugural Stanford Medicine Innovation Professor, who she talks to Priya SinghChief Strategy Officer and Senior Associate Dean of Stanford Medicine, about what motivates her and what gives her hope when it comes to improving the health of underserved populations.

· A look into what’s behind the extraordinary longevity and health of people in Nicoya, Costa Rica, and a few other places in the world known as blue zones. The article describes research of David RehkopfScD, an associate professor of epidemiology and public health, indicating that certain social factors can keep cells young.

· An article highlighting the work and perspectives of Stanford Health Care clinicians care for the homeless Bee Peninsula Healthcare Connection in Palo Alto, California.

· A position about pediatrician Anisha Patel‘s quest to combat childhood obesity through safe, attractive drinking water. Research conducted by Patel, an associate professor of pediatrics, helped push for legislation requiring schools to provide free water. Through her collaborations with schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, she is also exploring ways to encourage children to drink water instead of soda or juice.

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The issue also includes two articles on protein synthesis:

· A discussion of ribosomesthe molecular machines that translate mRNA into proteins explains startling research Mary Barbara, PhD, an associate professor of genetics, who turned the central dogma of genetics on its head. Her work shows that ribosomes are unexpectedly picky about which genes they translate, which has major implications for biomedical research.

· A Looking back in the making of a 1971 cult classic, Protein synthesis: an epic at the cellular level, which joyfully demonstrates how proteins are made with dance, psychedelic music and “Jabberwocky” inspired verses. The film features a young professor Paul BergPhD, who went on to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and a cast of dozens of Stanford University students.

Stanford Medicine magazine is available online at stanmed.stanford.edu but also in print. Request a copy by emailing medmag@stanford.edu.

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